Posted by: cck | September 4, 2014

color me relieved

I am in a tizzy, a bit of a tizzy. The whole changing schools and changing up my schedule is daunting. I am daunted. I’m not even sure that’s proper English, that’s how daunted I am. I’m planning on taking my eldest out of full-time day care – and for the SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY putting her three mornings a week. Yes, instead of 40 hours a week of care, she’ll be getting nine hours of care. I am clearly insane.

Since Montessori is only three days a week, I will also need a nanny. Like, a real live Mary Poppins who will come to my house and take care of both girls. Now, let’s face it – I needed this no matter what I did with C^3. Having a baby at work five full days a week is tough. Of course, now I’m going to have both girls on MWF afternoons so… clearly I cannot do math. Anyway, I was full of angst over bringing someone into my home. I mean, my home is usually messy. There are often dinner dishes from the night before – you know the ones that won’t fit in the dishwasher – still on the counter. I do not want to be the gross house. The messy house, I can probably handle.

I posted on – and received some really lovely responses. Oh, you’re a grandmother? Great. You want to be a pediatrician? Neat! But, it all left me feeling a little… uneasy. Until I realized that the perfect person was already in my address book. I just had to ask. And I did. And she said yes. And it will be just great. So, now I’m looking for a good toddler curriculum and there’s a big JoAnns/Michaels visit in my future for some craft supplies.

I am so freakin’ excited. And nervous – the two sides of the same coin. I’m so thankful for my friends who listened to me be a mess. And reminded me that nothing in this parenting journey is permanent – the only part that is permanent is the desire to do right by your kid. That’s enough, me thinks. Or at least, gawd, I hope it is.

So, I’m tickled that C^3 will be in Montessori – she calls it Mommy-sori. I’m tickled that I’ll have two days to just focus on work. I’m tickled that I can make this work. I like seeing my kids and now I’ll get to see more of them. Whoo boy. Somebody pinch me.

Posted by: cck | September 2, 2014

the gut

Motherhood, it’s hard. For those of us stuck on metrics of success, milestones are just not enough. Yeah! My kid can use a cup! Yeah! My kid can pee in a potty! Yes, I think she has 50+ words, but let’s not talk about how she says the word “fork.”

My eldest, easy-going daughter started in a new class two weeks ago. There are 15 children with two teachers – which is not a bad ratio. But, the two teachers need an assistant. They have forgotten my daughter’s snack, forgotten her special butt cream, not put on sunscreen, forgotten to give her half her lunch, not provided enough water… It’s just not the right environment for my daughter who does not make waves. Sometimes, with the adaptable child, you cannot use their positive outlook as a barometer of success. I have to listen and watch for cues. I have to trust my gut.

I gave it two weeks. Granted, she’s only been in school for seven of those ten days, but I gave it two weeks. Friday, they forgot to give her half her lunch – the half with protein. Of course, on the daily report card they said she ate all her lunch. The teachers are very nice, but they hail from Pre-K. Four year olds are different from two year olds. My kid is still a toddler. She still poops her pants. She still needs someone taking care of her in a hands-on way.

So, for the last two weeks, I called around to other schools. I toured. I thought about alternatives – all while giving her current school and class every benefit of the doubt. I did not want to be that mom. The mom who can’t handle her baby growing up. The mom that can’t let go. But, you know what? I am not that mom. I am not a helicopter parent; I am the parent of a two year old. Again, I refer you to the above paragraph – a two year old who still poops her pants. If I’m this hands-on when she’s seven, we’ll have a problem. My daugher is fiercely independent, charismatic, and vibrant. I am raising her to be exactly who she is.

10603747_10152341593368157_7098009266441579120_nBut I am her mom, not her aunt or her cousin or her friend. I am her mother and I know her like none other. I know that she needs lotion every night and every morning to keep eczema away. I know when she’s chilly and I know when she’s too hot. I know how to get sunscreen on every inch of her exposed skin. I know that she needs a lot of water. I know that she likes her hair up when she’s sweaty. I know these things and while I cannot be her primary caretaker during the day, I pay a premium for experienced people to play that role. I explain things to the daycare teachers. I follow up their lessons at home. I listen to them and provide feedback. Ugh. There’s a certain degree of “daycare sucks” no matter what you do.

Anyway, she’s going to start at Montessori – for which I am really grateful. The girl who can count to 20 and sings her ABCs so well – she will thrive in that environment. And if she doesn’t, it’s my job to find the environment she will thrive in. I can do it. These decisions are hard, the not knowing if you’re doing the right thing by your kid. First of many decisions like this, methinks.

Posted by: cck | August 20, 2014

all the things

Whoa. It’s been… an August? It’s been an August. Full of activity, sickness, health, and happiness – all the things so far this month.

10460229_10152310703693157_354582275893679214_nToday, C3 started in her 2’s classroom. She walked right in, said hello to her teachers (we’ve been practicing), and then started playing. I pray that they love her like her teachers in the 1’s did. I pray that double the amount of kids makes her strong and friendly. I pray that she continues to love counting and colors and letters. Oh goodness, I wish I could keep her with me. She’s so much fun right now. When someone says she’s a girly-girl, I nod and then also add – and a rough and tumble player. When they say she’s a tomboy, I remind them of her penchant for bows. My eldest daughter is all the things.

Last night, in the bath as I washed her still-puke scented hair, I was bathed in how much love and adoration I have for this kid. She drew a fish – coloring on the walls of the tub is a bathtime favorite – and this is all just the start of a whole new world of communication and struggle and growth and OHMYGAWD people. My daughter is growing up. My fears for her class, for her future – they are JUST beginning. The nervousness I felt on Meet the Teacher night is only the first of 18 years for this child. And then COLLEGE. Oh my, all the feels. All the things.

My little special snowflake is not more precious or unique than any of the other two year olds running around, but she’s my little special snowflake. I grew every piece of her when she was still brand-new and unharmed and smelling of heaven. I have poured my energy and soul into hers so she could grow and expand and have opinions different than mine. I have dressed her so others could see instantly what I know all about her. I still know when she falls asleep and the moment she wakes. My hand can comfort beyond all others, my kiss heal every hurt. She is still my very precious baby.

I want her to know that it’s good to dress up and have a bow in your hair, but at the same damn time it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of her appearance. I want her to know she’s beautiful, and at the same damn time that beauty is not only on the outside. I want her to know she’s brilliant and clever, but that doesn’t mean she won’t fail. I want her to be challenged and be safe. I want all the things for her. All the things. One of my friends had a challenge that asked if you could give your child one trait, what would it be? One mother said resilient; she said kind. I’ve been struggling with what thing I would bless on my daughter — balanced. I want her to know and live a balanced life. Enough smock and monograms, enough dirt and trouble, enough science and enough art. I know she is resilient and mostly kind and adaptable (my back-up trait for her). I want her to know ands instead of ors.

2014-08-09 18.24.23Our family – my sweet aunt and my in-laws – conspired to give K and I a day away. I had a massage(!) and K got a haircut. We went to a movie(!). We had casual sex(!). We ate dinner for two and a half hours(!).I drank multiple beers with dinner. And, y’all, it was so so good. It was the first real date we’ve had in MONTHS. There were no errands to run, no agendas. My in-laws kept C3 overnight, and brought C4 home around 9pm. It was so so so good. The hard part was putting the parenting hat back on in the morning. We all met up at church – C3 was thrilled to see us which is such a boost to the ego – but the reminder that no matter how good it feels to be just husband and wife, you’re still parents first. This is a short season in the whirl of our marriage, I know that. I’m glad that together we’re on the same page of how we want to parent, that we’re able to keep our marriage smoldering so that it ignites when we need it. I still wish he’d do the dishes without prompting, but goodness, I love this man.

I can walk. How about that. Or as C3 says, “Look at you, Mommy. Look at you!” Yup. I was expecting 25 – 50% (ie I could start putting 50% weight back on my right leg, for a month). The surgeon told me no restrictions – I made him repeat it over and over again until he was all NO RESTRICTIONS. He did tell me to keep my walker for a while till I felt stable. I kept it for about 12 hours.

PinsI can carry my children from room to room. I think of all the things – the alone time, driving, independence – the thing I missed most was being able to carry my children from room to room. It’s such a simple thing, moving a child. There’s a crying toddler or a sleeping baby, and I just couldn’t do it. Now I can. My arms have purpose again. There are seriously tears running down my face as I write this. I may walk with a modified-hunchback limp, but I can carry my kids. Also, both girls are smart enough to hang on like little monkeys as if neither trust my gait.

I do though. I trust my body. This ol’ thing has given me two babies and got me through the worst injury of my life. It has prevented me from the worst things I’ve thrown at it. And I am so thankful for it. Give your bodies a hug, y’all. That thing you lug around – the shell around your soul – it is very precious. It wants to do right by you.

Also, driving in my new minivan was awesome. Being all alone for the first time in three months was awesome. And then we all came down with the stomach flu. K got it first, then C3, then me. C4 missed it. It was miserable. C3 wouldn’t puke in anything, just throw her head back so it dribbled down her neck and into her hair. We started trying to catch vomit in towels. Which only sort of worked and resulted in so. much. laundry. We made it back though. At one point, K was all, “I couldn’t do this without you.” The next he was all, “You’re doing it wrong.” (See smoldering love above.) C3 was so pitiful I just let him yell at me because he couldn’t fix anything and he was sad. It happens.

It was a lot. August ain’t over. This summer we’ve bought two(!) new cars, a new bed, and now – a new couch. Our home is starting to look like an Ikea catalog outtake. No one has challenged us to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. We’ve only been to church twice since the end of June. Last Saturday I took both girls to the park, all by myself. It’s all the things.


Posted by: cck | July 31, 2014

in the moment

I swear I won’t. When it’s happening, I swear I will remember the face, the smile, the smell, the light. I swear to myself I will remember every moment – the simple ones when K looks over to me and tells me he’s happy. The ones where the weight of both girls holds me down and anchors me. The ones where C3 gives me a hug and whispers, “I love you, momma.” Playing with playdough. Taking a walk with the new double stroller – K pushing me in the wheelchair while I push the girls. Making brownies. Picking out what to wear.

I don’t. I don’t remember them. They float by – and maybe, just maybe – if I’ve taken a picture I will remember them specifically in a year. Because right now they sort of all roll up into one ball of happy. I think the ball of happy is what sustains you when there’s spit up in your mouth, poop on your palm, sleep in your eyes. It’s why we all blog. Right?

This week’s moments:

The joy in C3’s face while watching “Into the Woods.” The girl gets into musical theater and I am now looking into local productions of anything. She was mesmerized. I found myself singing all the words – muscle memory from afternoons with my brother. I loved it.

Jumperoo time with C4 when she figures out the things that spin and shake and move. She’s so damn proud of herself, beaming from ear to ear as her muscles work just like she wants them to. She delights me.

C3 is doing gangbusters with her own room and her own bed. She’s only waking one or two times a night, which ain’t bad. When she wakes up, she wants to come into “Daddy’s bed.” It’s not mine. It’s just Daddy’s.

C3 doesn’t just have legs, she has gams. The girl is getting all shapely and long and I cannot believe she’s really, fully two. She still puts her head on my shoulder, and I treasure the feel of her bony jaw and soft skin.

C4 likes to fall asleep in my arms. Her head all smooshed up against my breast. Yes, she still eats for hours at a time, but she’s happy and fat. And I’m getting my clavicle back.

C3 rubs C4’s head. She giggles and nuzzles her and says, “soft.” The two of them… As much as I want C4 to stay a baby, the future of two girls playing together is there – visible. If only 3 would call her by name. She’s “baby” every time.



Afternoon Selfies

Afternoon Selfies

Take a picture, mommy

Take a picture, mommy



He just wants to be covered with kids.

He just wants to be covered with kids.

Her eyelashes are gorgeous.

Her eyelashes are gorgeous.

She's rarely, if ever, still.

She’s rarely, if ever, still.

Posted by: cck | July 10, 2014

the guilt

I fully intended to write about C3’s transition to her big girl bed. There are Mickey Mouse sheets and she uses the blanket I sewed for her before she was born. It’s going really, really well. Better than I thought. Which is why I am surprised by the million pounds currently sitting on my shoulders this afternoon.

The Little One is sprawled across my lap, sleeping. I should be frantically fitting in some calls and finishing my expense report. Instead, I feel this amazing sense of guilt. I was gone from my daughter for two weeks. She’d only been on the outside for nine weeks. I wouldn’t leave C3 for an overnight until she was nine months old. I missed – at the time, almost 1/5 of her entire life. Two weeks, I missed of her smiling, her pooping, her need for food.

Now, I’m proud of the fact that I pumped and dumped. I’m proud of the way I pushed through pain. I’m proud of the way I got myself up and moving. This isn’t a humble brag thing. This is recovery, in all its glory. Today marks eight weeks from my accident. Last night, I was frustrated by the ongoing feeding session and this small infant preventing me from sleeping. I wished for a night of uninterrupted sleep. (Of course I did, I’m only human.)

Today, I’m feeling guilty. This one, who wants to be near me at all times? This one, who won’t sleep without being near me? Yeah, I get it. I missed two weeks of her life. I wasn’t there. And on some level, she knows it. Towards the end of my hospital stay, she wasn’t turning towards me, didn’t even recognize my voice. I’m feeling guilty today about it. I know it’ll pass.

Recovery is tough. I’m keeping a brave, happy face – and for 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds – I really am happy. I’ve been getting in and out of my shower by myself for weeks. My scars are healing – inside and out. I am a human barometer, which comes in really handy in our part of the world. But every once in a while, those random seconds accumulate on my shoulders into minutes of real discomfort. (And yes, I know I’m so lucky it’s only minutes.)

So tonight, when exhaustion is burning my eyelids and my nipples ache, when I want to ignore the cries and soft whimpers, when I think I can’t do this for a second more… I will remember those two weeks, when all I wanted was to smell her stinky neck and hold her in my arms. Although, I may also pump before bed and let K take one for the team. Recovery is weird, yo.

Posted by: cck | July 9, 2014

the fourth

This summer is slow. When I’m looking at it positively, I’m glad – it’s good that a time that could have easily evaporated into a toddler’s demands and the cries of a new infant is now deliberate. The four of us are together for nearly every outing. There was a point, on the day before Independence Day, that I wanted to run away. While the hardest part of this injury is the deficit to my family, the second hardest part is that I haven’t had any alone time. I can’t jump in the car and run to Target, walking anonymously down the aisles. There’s no quick errand at 9pm after everyone is ready for bed. I miss my own power.

Anyway, I can do a pity party some other time. I’m seven weeks post-op, down more than 70lbs since March 12th, and have a new king* size bed. I can pollyana for days, but the first week of July still hit us hard. K was sick with a summer cold. C3 came home with a case of Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease. Of course, in typical C3 fashion, she was a total trooper. Covered in calamine, her fever lasted just under 72 hours. We fed her popsicles and cold drinks to help the sores in her mouth. And she wore lots of pants so she couldn’t scratch herself bloody. Incubation period is two weeks, so we’re keeping a close eye on the Little One. I think we may be okay.

The grandparents went to visit my nephew in Savannah, so we played in their pool each afternoon. C3 loves swimming in her “muscles” and we indulged her. I finally got in the pool thanks to some creative butt maneuvering. To say it was awesome is an understatement. Floating was great, but being able to actually play with C3 was what filled my soul. She’s a physical girl – she loves to be lifted and tossed and tickled and rocked. I was able to do it all, like I was a normal mom. I’ve got five more weeks of zero weight bearing, and it’s going to go so damn fast. #powerofpositivethinking

photo (8)We went to the park in the mornings, and the Little One had her first moment in a swing. I took the wheelchair. You should have seen us, the Little One in the ergo pouch, C3 on my lap, and K pushing us down the sidewalk (all while singing our ABC’s). The park has mulch, so I knew I couldn’t just wheel myself over to the swings. Um. Until I heard C3 squeal with delight that her sister was swinging beside her. I was not going to miss it. I pushed myself into the park, over the mulch, over the branches. If you had seen my face, you would have seen fierce determination – otherwise known as motherhood. I got stuck and K wheeled me closer so I could push the Little One too. This whole thing has caused much difficulty for him, but you never really know the strength of a person until you’re tested. He saw my face; he knew what I wanted. And while I have to nag him to unload the dishwasher, he always gives me the help I need to be front and center with my children.

We got a sprinkler for the front yard. C3 wasn’t interested and just stood there staring at it with disdain. Until we told her it was time to go inside – then it was all jumping in puddles and running through the cool water. Not to be outdone, the Little One likes to be in the pool too. She kicks her legs and giggles and tries to drink all the water.

There was a lot of time spent eating hot dogs (a personal favorite), singing our ABC’s, and laughing. Always laughing.

*K and I have had hand-me-down beds the entire span of our relationship. My bed from college, his bed from college, my dead grandmother’s Queen, his parent’s 10 year old Queen… Well, we went and got us a king size bed. A really good, firm, gorgeous king size bed. We can fit all of us in – not that we have to now that C3 is sleeping in her bedroom. It is lovely! And after being in a hospital bed and away from him for nearly six weeks, sleeping next to my husband is niiiiiice. Although, the snoring I could do without. 🙂

Posted by: cck | July 8, 2014

the littlest one

K hates the way I refer to the girls. I call out, “Take the baby!” or “The baby needs a change!” and he has no idea who I am talking about. They’re both babies. I’ve started calling the newest one, the little one. This kid is easy going – she’s calm, extraordinarily smiley, and always hungry. The pudge, I cannot. I just love the pudge.

photo 1 (3)

She lives to eat – and likes to be near her food source (me!) at all times. She likes to be held and cuddled. She sleeps, tucked into the crook of my arm. Or, more likely, sprawled out across my chest – one chubby arm wrapped as high as she can get it around my neck, legs below my belly. She wants to be held at all times. She loves music – lights up when singing to her. She watches her sister, adorably entranced by the active toddler.

SistersThere’s peach fuzz, light strawberry blond peach fuzz. Light colored eyes that reflect whatever is around her. Long, long lashes. She is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I have no idea who she’s shaping up to be — I can tell she’s a sweet. When people smile at her, her whole face lights up and she gives this bright, toothless smile. Her smile is really special. But she reserves it for people; pull out a camera and the odds are you won’t see it.

photo (6)She doesn’t like sitting in the car and will cry loudly. Once the car is in motion, she’s fine – she doesn’t like sitting still. She wants to be rocked and jiggled and wants to see what’s going on with her people. She sits at a high chair during meals, studying the eaters. Again, she really likes food. She’s had a little ice cream – now a tradition for K kids. I made some peach puree the other day from gorgeously ripe peaches. It’s in the freezer waiting for her five month birthday. I’m pretty sure she’s close to 20 lbs. We’ll find out next week.

At night, after the toddler is asleep in her big girl bed, she coos and talks to her dad and I. She’s very talkative and expressive. Then, she settles in for an hour or so at the boob, taking her time eating to last her through the night. She always loses her socks at this point, moving her feet until she’s free from footwear.

Compared to the talking, bumbling, running toddler, she’s sort of quiet. But, as far as babies go – this one is interesting. You sort of forget the gentleness of an infant when you’re with a toddler. She wakes up with a smile. She falls asleep with a smile. She laughs with her whole body.

I love this kid.

Posted by: cck | June 16, 2014

hashtag this

Last week, I had a sick toddler. Normally, that wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But I can’t drive. I can’t carry my sick toddler. I’m dependent on so many people right now. Anyway, I posted on facebook with the hashtag twogirlsandawalker.

That’s my life right now. Sleeping in a hospital bed away from my husband. Using the basket of my walker to pull things from the fridge to the counter. Dragging the Rock-n-Play from room to room with my sleeping infant. Kicking up the heel of my bad leg towards my butt (seriously, that’s what the PT guy wrote on the instruction page). It’s awful. It’s wonderful. It is what it is.

I’ve been positive, yup. I am a positive person. My aunt said I was really adaptable. Until she said it I didn’t realize that was such a trait of mine. It’s both good and bad. I’m adaptable, right up until that point when I can’t bend, won’t bend. Thankfully, we haven’t reached that point yet. I’m positive, but I cry in the shower. I have moments, sometimes they’re full minutes. I wish this wasn’t happening to me. I wish I could just walk.

But I’m adaptable. I’m working it. The fogginess is almost lifted and I’m awake. I’m almost off tylenol – give me another 24 hours and I’ll call that a win. I pumped 31 oz for the freezer yesterday, on top of exclusively breast feeding. I am accepting help (and buying some – oh yes, this family is getting maid service) and it’s good. It’s really, really good.

I became a mother with C3, but I got cemented into the role with C4. Cement isn’t the right word, because cement cracks. I’m not cracking. I am being… responsible. Present. Put together. I’m actually wearing matching pajamas tonight – and I’ve ordered another pair. I had no idea how wearing matching pajamas would make me feel more ready to tackle the next day. (Okay, who am I?)

This summer is shaking us down and rebuilding us. Us being the parents. Us being me. I can’t put all this into a hashtag; I couldn’t even try. But the adventures of my summer with a walker continue. And it will be full of laughter and joy, with a small sprinkling of tears. I’m not a superhero, I just play one on facebook.


Posted by: cck | June 15, 2014


Excuse me, dear eldest daughter, but when did you turn two? Who told you that you could turn TWO?

She’s an explosion. She smiles at everyone. She laughs with abandon. She’s a helper with unlimited potential. My daughter is the coolest thing I have ever seen. When she says mommy or daddy, it’s with a slight British accent. I die.

The year of one to two went so very quickly. We started out with this new house and this new place for her to get used to. She spent a lot of time at the park. There were a lot of doctors appointments – the RAD diagnosis meant we spent a lot of time with our little seal of a nebulizer. As long as Mickey is on (or maybe the monkey aka Curious George), she handles it well.

The year blew by because I was also pregnant and a new soul joined our family. I was worried about shaking up C3’s life – she didn’t ask for a sister, but a sister she got. Watching my daughter grow into a big sister, knowing that she will be the leader of a hopefully large brood, I just melt. She’s got this. She’s protective and loving, but not afraid to make jokes about the baby either.

Her language has grown and grown. I see her putting together sentences, demanding things and then following up her request with a precious “please.” I really need to learn to relax and let her unfold exactly the way she’s made. She’s very intuitive, my eldest daughter. She watches and can tell when someone’s sad. She’ll climb up on your lap and give you a hug – while demanding one in return. On the night of my surgery, she apparently woke up repeatedly calling for me. Whenever I doubt that we’re connected, that we’re bonded… This daughter of mine is in my heart.

At night or whenever the ball of energy with curly hair stops, I hold her head in my hands and look into her eyes. I tell her I love her, that she is smart, that she is beautiful, that she is capable. I want these facts to cement into her soul. I want her to know she is gorgeous, that she is bright and able to do anything. She has begun to return the favor – grabbing my chin to tell me she loves me. I love this child more than I ever imagined. I have read and reread a book – Surprised by Motherhood. Read it. I cannot explain how it fills me up with hope and strength and goodwill. The author is lovely – I wrote to her while I was in the hospital. I read the book before the accident, and I was so filled with strength by her that it helped me get through the early days of the trauma. She wrote me back and was just so darn lovely. Anyway, there’s a line that 18 years is not enough time to get to know her mother, but it is enough time to know a daughter.

I have no idea who this girl will be yet. She will be fierce and temperamental, she will be caring, she will be imaginative. She is all of those things now. I am so grateful for the chance to get to know her. To be one of the ones shaping her, guiding her, loving her. I am in love with my girl with the runny nose, with the skinned knee, with the vocabulary that will not stop, with the bow on top of bouncing curls. I cannot wait to see what this year brings.

Posted by: cck | June 9, 2014

energy game

This is all a game of energy. This morning, after a relatively slow weekend, I was wiped out. Part of it was a baby girl whose cluster feeding kept me up through the night; part of it was my body growing back together. Like a baby’s growth spurt, my body needs energy to heal itself.

This is why I’m taking another two weeks off. This is why I’m taking extra calcium and D3. This is why I’m giving myself – my normal, driven, keep-it-moving self – permission to take a morning and afternoon nap.

M2014-06-08 08.16.55y body is healing. It won’t happen overnight. No matter how many isometric exercises I do or how many meditations I say, this is just going to take time. I have no control over the healing. Much like caring for a newborn, I have to roll with this. I have to bend under the weight of this. I cannot fight the weariness. I cannot fight the pain. If I ride this – like a wave – then I will be that much healthier by August (or November or whenever I get clearance to put weight on my right side).

In the meantime, I’m getting closer to Michelle arms. And I could not be happier.


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